5 Questions Facing the Indiana Pacers Heading Into the Season
Indiana Pacers: 5 Questions Heading Into the Season
The Indiana Pacers have changed a lot over the past few seasons. They went from barely making it into the playoffs, to barely missing the NBA Finals. They went from being an exciting underdog, to a top contender in the Eastern Conference. After last season's epic seven-game series against the Miami Heat, we all want to see what is next from the Pacers. Luckily for us, that time is almost here. The season is sneaking up on us, as training camp is literally right around the corner.
In June, the Pacers left Miami disappointed, but with their heads held high. In September, the Pacers are seeking out revenge for the two-time defending NBA champions.
The past two seasons, everyone really looked at the Pacers-Heat rivalry as the underdog Pacers trying to knock off the Heat. After last season, however, the matchup has really become a toss up. With what Indiana has done over the offseason, they may even come into the season as the favorites when the teams face off.
Away from the Heat, the Pacers have another rival in the Chicago Bulls that could cause them trouble this season. With Derrick Rose out all of last season, the Pacers didn't have much trouble with Chicago, but that won't be the case this season. Rose will be back for the Bulls, and that will be yet another exciting rivalry for Pacers' fans to look forward to this season.
Now that the season is so close, let's take a look at five questions that the Pacers are facing heading into the season.
Can They Win The Central Division?
The Pacers will have a tough time winning the central division in the East this season. Derrick Rose will return to the Bulls, the Pistons have added Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to the squad and will be much more competitive than recent years, and the Cavaliers have added Andrew Bynum, Earl Clark and Jarrett Jack, making them more competitive as well.
Can Paul George Put Up Superstar Numbers?
Paul George is now the Pacers' leader, and he needs to play like one. George averaged 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season. If he wants to be considered a superstar in this league, he will need to step up his game and raise his averages. We will see if he can handle his role and actually put up superstar numbers.
Can Roy Hibbert Dominate Other Star Centers?
We saw Roy Hibbert completely destroy his opponents in the playoffs last season. The question coming into this season is whether or not he can carry that over and put up solid numbers against anyone. Luckily, he has guys like Andrew Bynum, Joakim Noah and Greg Monroe in the division to test him out with that.
Will Danny Granger Be Able To Stay Healthy?
Danny Granger only played five games last season, and he is a huge part of this Pacers team. Having him healthy throughout the entire season will be key for Indiana to win a championship. With Granger getting up there in age, and the fact that even he doesn't know how much he can handle yet, may tell us he could have a chance of re-injuring his knee if he overdoes it.
Will Danny Granger Start?
Last season's lineup without Granger seemed to work, as the team was only one game short of the Finals. Granger's return may ruin their starting lineup's chemistry. Also, Lance Stephenson did a wonderful job while Granger was out, and putting him on the bench may tremendously slow down his growth as a player. The Pacers will carefully need to decide whether or not Granger starting is best for the team.